Chinese New Year – Year of the Ox – Prosperity Fish Cake

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Prosperity Fish Cake

Provided by Cakes by Happy Eatery

“Shin Nian Kwai Le” is the official greeting for Happy New Year. Lunar New Year, Spring Festival, more commonly known as Chinese New Year, is the most important holiday in several Asian countries. The weeks-long celebration includes the gathering of family and friends, eating good food, and handing out red envelopes to children and retirees. The ornate red envelopes are filled with money and symbolize good wishes and luck for the new year. For children, Chinese New Year is their annual lucky lotto.

Eight is the most prized number and sounds like the word “prosperity.” Annually, the U.S. Treasury Department offers the Lucky Money Collection. It features distinctive artwork that celebrates Chinese symbolism and numerology with many 8s in the serial number to represent fortune and wealth.

The Year of the Ox

The year of the Ox begins Feb. 12, 2021. The date changes annually based on the start of the spring season of the lunar calendar. The main feast is on New Year’s Eve so the celebratory group can ring in the new year together.

Food!

The Chinese culture thrives on tradition and symbolism. There are certain “lucky” (and delicious) foods that are enjoyed during the new year festivities. The food or ingredient used in a dish is a homonym to an auspicious word or saying. Fish is a staple for the new year’s meal. The pronunciation of fish sounds like prosperity and abundance. Therefore, serving the whole fish (with head and tail) is to wish all a prosperous new year.

Other menu items include a whole chicken (head and feet) symbolizing togetherness, long noodles for longevity, melon soup for good health, dumplings for heavenly blessings, and mandarin oranges for gold/wealth. A Chinese New Year dinner can exceed a ten-course meal with all the fixings and trimmings of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Jan. 1 New Year all in one, with dessert being another multi-course offering.

Sweet treats symbolize a sweet life. Glutinous rice flour is used frequently to make rice cakes and sweet rice balls. The words sound like “higher year” or better year. Some popular pairings with the rice flour desserts are red beans for love, pineapple for wealth and luck, and peaches for immortality.

Prosperity Fish Cake

The Prosperity Fish Cake (no ingredients from its fish namesake, only the shape) is an offering from Cakes by Happy Eatery. The fish shape dessert complements the continuing theme of abundance and wealth. The pastries are filled with candied pineapple wrapped in a pastry dough, formed into the fish shape, and baked until golden brown. Other flavors include sweetened red beans plus a peach-shaped pastry with a peaches and melon filling. To serve the Prosperity Fish Cake, slice from the tail side first and work towards the head (maintain the good omen and cut in the correct direction).

Other Desserts

Chinese New Year

The eye-catching fish and peach-shaped desserts are the perfect centerpieces to adorn the rest of the traditional dessert offerings: sticky rice cake, rice ball soup, sesame seed balls, almond cookies, and another picturesque dessert, the eight-layer rice pudding with alternating layers of sweet rice and candied fruit with a red bean center that is steamed to perfection.

The Chinese New Year feast is a foodie’s dream with platters and platters of exquisite dishes enjoyed over several hours. After overindulging on New Year’s Eve, it is easy to abide by one of the new year’s day customs: no housework to avoid sweeping or washing out any good luck.

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